20 Superheroes Who Are Rad in (Mostly) Red
I went out on the net searching high and low for Comic Book Superheroes who were decked out in nothing but red. Let me tell you, this was a task I found to be far less simple than I first imagined. You see, there are plenty of heroes and villains who wear red, but accented with a little of another color. And at first this wouldn’t do. But then I figured, “Why not?” And the more I thought about it, I decided it would be equally as cool to make the twenty-strong list and just reserve the upper echelon for those who are truly ‘Completely Red’. Look, I said this was cool, not light on the explanation. So adhere yourself to the screen with a pair of rose-colored glasses, and check out 20 Superheroes Who Are Rad in (Mostly) Red.
We’re starting off light because, let’s face it, old Skull here is really only red in one obvious area. But, to leave him off this list would have been criminal. Your requisite history compliments of Wikipedia: “The Red Skull, Johann Schmidt (sometimes spelled Shmidt), was a former Nazi general officer and confidant of Adolf Hitler. He has been closely affiliated with HYDRA and is an enemy of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Avengers, and the interests of the United States and the free world in general. He was physically augmented by having his mind placed into the body of a clone of Captain America, the pinnacle of human perfection. He has been seemingly killed in the past, only to return time and time again to plague the world with schemes of world domination and genocide.”
Comic companies are never accused of being unoriginal almost to the point of insanity. Case in point: The Red Hulk. Take one of Bruce Banner’s (The Hulk) most notorious and sinister adversaries, General Thunderbolt Ross, and, to better do battle with his green nemesis, have him augmented by The Leader and MODOK into a crimson version of said emerald enemy and let him loose. Now you not only have a character in the Hulk who is nigh-invulnerable and very difficult to control, but two. And the Red one’s even meaner, smarter, and tactically more advanced. Nice job.
Wonder Man has a lot going on in terms of a back story, but to sum it up as concisely as I can: As Simon Williams, he becomes an unwitting pawn in a plot by Baron Mordo to overthrow The Avengers by getting augmented superpowers in return for freedom from prison and his assistance to the Master of Evil. He decides, against the knowledge that doing so will kill him, to aid The Avengers which eventually throws him into a years-long catatonic state. Eventually re-awakened, he becomes an on-again off-again ally of The Avengers and The West Coast Avengers. It was during his stint with the latter that he decked himself out in all red.
Back in 1963, an “imaginary” tale within the Superman lexicon took place wherein Supes himself decided to augment his intelligence a hundred fold, and in doing so split himself into Superman Red and Superman Blue. In 1998, this story arc was revisited but in a slightly more skewed (if possible) way. The Cyborg Superman created a trap that caused the real Supes to split in two, one Red and one Blue, that represented different personalities of The Man of Tomorrow. This caused quite a rift since, eventually, neither half wanted to reform into one complete being as each had become a singularity. Also both loved Lois Lane. Of course. Stupid.
Why does it seem that every time a “Red” costume change occurs it’s because of something incredibly dumb the comic book editors and writers are trying to pull off? And, certainly no exception to this axiom, we come to the Scarlet Spider. To no one’s surprise, the original Scarlet was actually a clone of the Web Slinger created by the Jackal. His job was to fight and kill Spidey. This turned out really well when the real McCoy handed his ass to him and dumped him down a chimney. Eventually coming to, Ben Reilly wandered around for a few years until he realized he’d like to be a hero. So, he adopted the moniker of The Scarlet Spider and his ridiculous red get-up. But, alas, he was killed. So, a new Scarlet came out of the woodwork as Joe Wade who, while trapped in a virtual reality machine, wreaks havoc on the city. Next comes the Red Team. A trio of S.S.’s who are to become the new Spider-Man once Parker’s powers have been removed permanently. Yeah, all of these are bad ideas and since they’re gone, it’s obvious no one found these stories very good at all.
Ah, Deadpool. So incredibly cool in the comics but just a waste in the Wolverine flick, which, in and of itself, sucked pretty hard too. In the comics, Deadpool is Wade Wilson, a loudmouthed, high-energy, mercenary with a Weapon X Project-enhanced healing factor much akin to Wolverine’s. One of Deadpool’s classic traits (aside from hammy comedic exploits) is to break the fourth wall and actually talk to the reading audience. This is pretty cool. Ryan Reynolds portrayed him in the film and is said to do so in his own spin-off set to possibly be directed by Robert Rodriguez.
Yet another of those seemingly throw-away villains who has had a hand in a ton of different DC Comics story arcs. Basically, Psycho-Pirate can invade your psyche and weaken your mind in order to gain control of your will. He has also been able to create tangible illusions to do his bidding. All this aside, his death is quite gruesome (from Wikipedia): “When Nightwing, Superboy, and Wonder Girl attack Luthor’s base, they free all the captive heroes, including Power Girl and Black Adam, who are then confronted by the Psycho-Pirate. The Pirate tries to instill feelings of fear in Black Adam, but he resists, saying ‘No more silly faces,’ and then proceeds to gouge out the Psycho-Pirate’s eyes and pushes the Medusa Mask through his head, killing him. When Power Girl asks if that was necessary, Adam replies, ‘Absolutely.’”
Iron Man has certainly had his fair share of metallic foes, specifically Soviet and Russian, who want nothing more than to whoop his shiny ass. The Crimson Dynamo is but one on this lengthy list, and he’s succeeded a time or to as well. Why? Well, it helps that there’s been 13 of them. Yep, when you’re naught but a robotic shell with a person inside, it’s easy to refill your gutted innards with another. The original and creator of the technology that all others would be based on was Anton Venko. His grudge with Stark starts like most others: wronged from the company in some round about way. And thus, a villain was born. Thirteen times over.
As comic bios go, I suppose this one is no more odd than any other. Funny, though… but no more odd. From Wikipedia: “The boy who would become Red Raven was a child from Europe, and the only survivor of a trans-Atlantic airplane crash. As an infant, he was adopted by a civilization of winged people who lived on a floating island in the sky, the Aerie, one kept aloft by antigravity drives and hidden from human civilization by artificial clouds. As he grew, he learned they were an avian offshoot of a human-alien hybrid race known as the Inhumans, who had long ago left the hidden Inhuman city Attilan, built their own abode, and learned to stabilize their genetics to reproduce only in this winged form. Calling themselves both The Bird-People and The Winged Ones, they made their adopted son a uniform outfitted with anti-gravitons for flight and metal wings for navigation.”
In 1953, the DC Comics writers (notorious loonies) decided that Superman needed to contend with the possibility of having a brother. The character Halk Kar crashed on earth and was rescued by Supes who, after reading a note from is dad, Jor-El, assumed that Kar was his brother. After Kar recovers his facilities it is discovered that he is indeed from a planet within Krypton’s same solar system, yet not the same. Anyway, flash forward to 1961 where the same story was reused, ultimately tossing out the original. This time it was with Superboy and Kar was renamed Lar Gand, later Mon-El as he began to realize his powers on earth were much like Superboy’s own, thereby assuming him to be brethren. Then in 1991-2008, he would return similarly yet with different incarnations of the same names and characterizations. Confusing.
Sometimes it’s just as easy to let Wikipedia’s version of a DC character speak for itself: “The Crimson Avenger had many similarities to The Green Hornet, including a sidekick named Wing who was an Asian valet and a gas gun that he used to subdue opponents. He initially dressed in a red trenchcoat, a fedora, and a red mask covering his face; except for the red, he was visually similar to The Shadow. Later, when superheroes became more popular than costumed vigilantes, his costume was changed to a more standard superhero outfit, consisting of red tights, yellow boots, trunks and crest, and a ‘sun’ symbol which was recently revealed to have been a stylized bullet hole. Some months after this, the Crimson Avenger made his first appearance as a member of the Seven Soldiers of Victory in Leading Comics #1.”
Solomon! Hercules! Atlas! Zeus! Achilles! Mercury! This was Billy Batson’s war cry as he channeled the powers of Captain Marvel turning him from mild-mannered child into a Superman-like hero. In fact, his back story reads like a menu of comic company’s misgivings and battle for readership control. If you’re interested (and you should be) check out the Wiki entry HERE. As far as nearly-all-red-suited heroes go, SHAZAM is one of the classics.
Once again we encounter a character from the DC Comics universe who has gone through multiple changes and incarnations. As it seems, The Flash has such a foothold on comics history that his first actual full-time appearance is marked, by some, as the onset of the Silver Age of Comics with Showcase #44. The Flash, in this version, was Barry Allen. Later, as the series was reissued, The Flash became Wally West and he ended up reliving many of Allen’s original adventures. Recently, during the complete arcing story line of Darkest Night, Allen was reintroduced in a title called “Brightest Day” where he returns as Flash only to find out he might be a criminal. Hot red!
Plastic Man bounced into the scene (ha ha) in 1941 in Police Comics #1. During the Golden Age of Comics, several of the smaller companies fell out of the limelight and characters were snatched up by larger, rival comics, including Plastic Man by one Detective Comics (DC). His style was always irreverent, slap-stick, and by and large more humorous than straight. He could essentially bend and twist himself into any conceivable shape that would either hinder or help the situation in which he found himself. Plas has lately found resurgence in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold cartoon.
Oh look, more Wiki goodness: “Mephisto is a perennial villain in the Marvel Universe, and is responsible for a number of evil acts, including capturing and holding the soul of Cynthia von Doom — the mother of Doctor Doom — until Doctor Strange and Doom free her to ascend to heaven, and posing as Satan creates the Ghost Rider by bonding the demon Zarathos to Johnny Blaze. Mephisto acted as servant of the mad titan Thanos during the War of the Gems, seeking to attain that power for himself. He is also responsible for capturing the souls of heroes Mister Fantastic (whose intelligence was also stolen by Mephisto), the Invisible Woman, and Franklin Richards due to a botched summoning by an exorcist; furthermore, he creates his ‘son’ Blackheart, a demonic entity that plagues many of Earth’s heroes; and manipulates the sorcerer Master Pandemonium into gathering scattered fragments of his soul.” And boy is he red!
The demon whose name, Anung Un Rama, means “The Beast of the Apocalypse,” is actually a hero and a friend to the Bureau For Paranormal Research and Defense. In fact, he is considered the World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator. On December 23rd, 1944, Hellboy appeared before his summoners in a ball of fire after Grigori Rasutin was told to turn the tides for the Nazis in the war. He is dubbed Hellboy by Professor Bruttenholm who eventually aids in his upbringing. Eventually, he is joined by Abe Sapian, Liz, Roger, and Johann Kraus in the BPRD. Also, he is as red as you please, though he does tend to cover up with a trenchcoat, pants and boots.
Wow, talk about excessively shitty comic book movie adaptations. This one is just borderline ridiculous. Anyway, Matt Murdock is the titular, blind superhero who defends the citizens of Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. Originally, Murdock’s costume was a sloppy mixture of red and yellow making him look more like a weird bee than a devil. Fortunately, the artists were smart enough to change his garb to full-on red. He brandishes a break-apart cane that acts like a bolo as well as his super-enhanced abilities fully augmented by his lack of sight.
As red-outfitted fellas go, this guy is definitely one of them. Wikipedia, take it away: “Deadman is a ghost, formerly a circus trapeze artist named Boston Brand who performed under the name Deadman, a stage persona including a red costume and white corpse makeup. When Brand is murdered during a trapeze performance by a mysterious assailant known only as the Hook (in fact his last words were, ‘Gee, from up here it almost looks like that guy with the hook for a hand has a gun…’), his spirit is given the power to possess any living being by a Hindu goddess (created for the purposes of the story) named Rama Kushna (a corruption of Rama-Krishna), in order to search for his murderer and obtain justice. It is established in Green Arrow Vol 4, #4, that Deadman believes Rama is the supreme being of the universe.”
Cletus Kasady, at once a typical toss-away villain who just happens to share a prison cell on Riker’s Island with one Eddie Brock, better known as Venom, had no idea what fate would befall him ultimately turning him into one of Spider-Man’s most sadistic and twisted foes — Carnage. The symbiote that bonded with Parker and later Brock returned to Eddie while in jail and, and it turned out, reproduced. This new symbiote bonded with Kasady via an open wound and soon turned him into a vile and violent villain even worse than Venom himself. Red is a fine color for this fiend.
Though sadly the only female on this list, Wanda Maximoff more than makes up for it with her ties to House of M in the Marvel universe where her actions have a cataclysmic effect on the pantheon of characters. Wanda’s brother is another famous character and villain named Quicksilver, and it was with him that the two made their debut in 1964 as part of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. At first she wore a more classic and conservative costume with pinkish tights, but now, well, take a look. Red and sexy.
Some might say Spider-Man, but it’s really a toss-up since his costume is really 50/50 blue and red.
Elektra. Yes, I know she’s all red, but I wanted to go with one female for that climactic conclusion, and I find Witch sexier.
Vindicator from Alpha Flight. Seriously, who reads Alpha Flight?
El Toro Rojo. Ah, the Red Bull. One of the Hispanic Heroes found on Wikipedia… and nowhere else. Sorry.
Red Tornado was an option but as it turns out, very little red. Same thing with Ant Man.